Older Canadians are at a higher risk of social isolation than other segments of the population. Because of this, many seniors experience loneliness and depression, which can lead to other health problems that are much more significant.
How to Recognize Social Isolation
Recognizing social isolation can be difficult to spot. Some characteristics of this issue include:
- Being over 80 years old;
- Women are more likely to live longer and therefore are more susceptible to isolation;
- Immigrants are more likely than nationals to feel isolated from the larger community;
- Rural or remote residents or those who live quite a distance from family;
- Those who have disabilities or health problems;
- Anyone going through a life transition such as a loss of spouse or community;
It’s incredibly important for younger relatives to keep an eye on seniors in their family to assure they’re not struggling with these kind of issues.
How to Cope
Experts believe that staying active is a key to avoiding isolation and the negative health outcomes that are associated with it.
Some tactics to avoid isolation include:
- Join a club or class. Group activities can be a good place for mental and social stimulation. It can also put us in touch with others who have similar interests.
- Find a hobby or activity that provides a sense of purpose. This is particularly helpful if it is a group activity.
- Ensure you have accessible transportation available. Having reliable public transportation or senior transportation options provides a sense of independence.
- Adopt an animal. Nothing makes you feel needed like having a pet dependent upon you. It also offers some companionship and an excuse to stay active.
- Help out. Volunteer at local organizations, churches or even businesses. The experience can provide a feeling of belonging, a sense of purpose and even a way to meet new people.
- Connect with family or friends. We are social creatures and need social interaction and stimulation to feel connected. Visiting often with family or good friends is important to help fight feelings of loneliness or isolation.
Social isolation can be a major concern as we age. However, it can be combated fairly easily. Make a point of staying involved in your communities and society and continue to expand your reach by attending a new class or activity.
If you have any concerns or would like some help living more comfortably at home or booking an in home visit, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-866-982-2737 and speak with some about setting up an at home care assessment today.